the Wanderling

"I began petting a horse sticking it's nose and a good part of it's head out of a small opening of an enclosed trailer parked in front of a café along the highway that formed the main drag through Palmdale when a man in a cowboy hat came out and told me to get away from his horses. Then he stopped and looked at me and said he knew me, that I used to live with a bunch of kids on a ranch not far away a few years ago. He said he remembered me specifically because he was at the ranch one day delivering some irrigation pipes or something and I had a pistol with me as long as my leg. When he asked one of the ranch hands helping to unload pipes about it he said it was a genuine 1847 Colt Walker. Even though I didn't recognize the cowboy per se' I told him he was right, I did have the pistol with me once in awhile, albeit, in that it was a black powder revolver and since nobody knew how to load it, it was never loaded."(source)

In the early years when my dad and Stepmother first got married she was quite wealthy. In her new found motherhood role, she noticed my younger brother and myself, along with a bunch of other neighborhood kids, spent an inordinate amount of time "playing cowboys" --- with cowboy hats, cap-guns, holsters, boots, etc., and in doing so we often ended up in the street. Using her logic, she thought, what could be better than having their own real ranch to play on, especially so, not in the street. So that's what she did, she bought a ranch. A whole section of land in size, that is, one square mile, with twenty acres set aside on one corner for the ranch house, barn, horse corrals, you name it. Then off we went to ride real horses and shoot real guns, but not so much at each other. That's the ranch the cowboy in the above quote remembered and the ranch my dad hated.[1]

My father and I were never really close. However, one of the things I remember about him besides hating the ranch was that he loved to read. Especially so, at least as he got older, he seemed to spend an extraordinary amount of free time or late into the night reading pulp science fiction books like Amazing Stories or paperback novels of the old west --- with the ones about the old west almost always written by Luke Short or Louis L'Amour. I had lightly perused through books by both authors from time to time out of piles of books my dad had strewn around his place, and so too, because he had insisted --- saying it related to my own experiences having been lost in the Mojave Desert as a young boy --- even read L'Amour's Mojave Crossing published in 1964 at one time or the other, a story which dealt with a similar lost in the desert subject matter. So saying, in a peripheral sort of way I knew of L'Amour as a proficient writer of western lore, that he had a huge following and was highly respected in his field and by his fan base.[2]

Another thing I came to know about L'Amour was that the 1847 Colt Walker revolver, the largest, heaviest black-powder revolver Colt ever produced, found their way into L'Amour stories often. I knew because my dad brought it up to me on more than one occasion, even to the point of showing me book-marked passages and underlined paragraphs attesting to them in a number of L'Amour novels.

The reason my father would even bring it up was because as a kid I loved the Colt Walker. My stepmother owned a genuine 1847 Colt Walker and, even though the pistol was nearly as big as I was, I used to run around day after day playing cowboys with it, sometimes even mixing genres by wielding the colt in one hand and a Buck Rogers Disintegrator in the other. In my teenage years I even got to fire off the Walker one day.

On a page I have on the net called Fifie Malouf I write about an 'old man' that tended the oil derricks not far from where I lived after I moved back to Redondo Beach and started high school. I write that, even though I spent the summers on my stepmother's ranch, at least once on the Fourth of July the 'old man' took a bunch of us kids to the top of one of the old out of service wooden oil derricks scattered along the city line to watch the fireworks being shot off in the surrounding communities. He lived in a combination caretakers shack, repair shop near the wells. What I didn't tell was that the 'old man' was an avid gun collector and master gunsmith. During my last year in high school the Colt had been caught in a fire on one of my stepmother's ranches when the main house caught fire and burnt to the ground. She let me take the Colt to the 'old man' to return it to a good condition and ensure it was in working order. I don't know in it's lifetime when the Colt was fired last or if it was ever fired, however the 'old man,' after making sure it was in good working order by test firing it in a jig, loaded it up and fired off a few rounds by hand. Then he handed the Colt to me and I finished the last three.





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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.

Footnote [1]

When the cowboy stopped and looked at me and said he knew me, that I used to live with a bunch of kids on a ranch not far away a few years ago he was referring to the previously mentioned ranch that my stepmother bought for us kids to play on. The quote below follows the quote at the top of the page. It shows how incredibly naïve and trusting, possibly even innocent I was in those days, having been raised under the umbrella of the Cowboy Code of the West:

"Even though I didn't recognize the man in the cowboy hat per se' I told him he was right, I did have the pistol with me once in awhile, albeit, in that it was a black powder revolver and since nobody knew how to load it, it was never loaded. Wanting to know what I was doing up in the high desert by myself, as he knew the ranch was shut down or sold, I told him I was trying to get to my 'mother' who was supposed to be at Pancho Barnes' ranch and Palmdale was as far as I got. He asked if I had any money and I told him no, but I was sure either my 'mother' or Pancho Barnes would make it well worth his while if he took me there."

Before the ranch was sold and shut down, as had been in the city and elsewhere, my Uncle along with my godfather were brought in to oversee all of us kids, which by then had grown to included a bunch of strays my stepmother picked up along the way somehow to take care of, the bunch of kids the cowboy remembered. Usually there were six or seven of us, with the core being my older and younger brother and our first cousin, a boy around my age somehow related to my stepmother by the name of Richard, and a real young kid we called Bub President Hudson. The kid was supposedly the son of some movie actress my uncle knew who went on-and-on continuously all day and night telling us that his mom was a spy and that she went to school with Tarzan. See:


Footnote [2]

A full accounting of me as a young boy, twice being Lost in the Desert as presented in Parts 1 and 2, can be found by going to:

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As a young boy besides running around with Colt Walkers and Buck Rogers disintegrators I was also doing a lot of travels with my uncle interacting with Native American tribal spiritual elders, or searching down bits and pieces of crashed UFOs and other similar such things.

However, many years later as a grown man, found me one day sitting in a chair beside a now pretty much bed-ridden uncle as he was inching towards the end of his days. Out of the blue and completely out of context he asked if I remembered the toy ray gun or disintegrator pistol I used to have as a kid. First thing I thought of was my Buck Rogers U-235 Atomic Pistol as pictured above, of which I told him I still had and that it was still in fairly good shape except the red flasher up in the little windows didn't work so hot any more. He looked puzzled as if he didn't know what I was talking about telling me the ray gun he was making reference to didn't have little red windows. Picking up a scrap of paper I sketched out what the gun looked like. He in turn, after seeing my sketch, drew his own picture of what he remembered the pistol looked like. Right away I knew what he was talking about. It wasn't the Buck Rogers U-235 Atomic Pistol but another toy gun I had as a kid called the Hiller Silver Atom Ray Gun. See:


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